Dark rum is way more than you could throw in a Dark and Stormy or make fried plantains with it. He’s a signature spirit who can turn just about anything he touches into a tropical treasure. This is especially the case in cocktails, where dark rum can add depth and bind multiple ingredients together seamlessly.
Billy Rockefeller is the manager of the Longboard bar in South Carolina. The seafood restaurant and the artisanal drinking trough have a special place in his heart for rum. He offered the Manual some of the recipes from the list below, as well as bottles to have on hand at your home bar.
There are many dark rums out there, some far superior to others. Rockefeller suggests Cruzan, as it is able to stretch the flavors of other tastier rums. He also likes Pusser’s Blue Label for its “rich color and long finish”. Plantation is another brand to pay attention to. He likes OFTD because it retains a mild and tasty component, despite the high alcohol content. Having an overproof rum is a great way to amplify and integrate a drink without overloading it.
“Plantation Pineapple is one of my favorite flavored rums because it embodies the tropical notes of pineapple without tasting fancy or overly sweet,” he says. It’s a bartender’s favorite, and for good reason.
Take a look at the following recipes to take advantage of all that dark rum can add to a memorable cocktail.
Rockefeller calls this boozy but tasteful drink. “This cocktail will make you feel like you’re on island time after just a few sips,” he says.
- 1 oz of Cruzan raw rum
- 1 oz of Cruzan Light rum
- .5 oz Plantation OFTD Rum
- .25 ounces of apricot liqueur
- 1.5 oz pecan barley
- .75 ounces of orange juice
- 0.5 oz lime juice
- 2 dashes of bitter tiki
Method: Combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Filter into a glass and apply the bitters. Garnish with pineapple.
“A play on the classic Hot Toddy, this rum blend is sweet and flavorful,” says Rockefeller. “Paired with acid and spices, this drink is bright enough to be enjoyed in the afternoon and bold enough to quell that late-night cocktail craving.”
- .75 oz Cruzan Raw Rum
- .75 oz Pusser’s Blue Label Rum
- .5 oz Plantation Pineapple Rum
- 0.75 oz of spicy honey
- .75 ounces of lemon juice
Method: Combine all the ingredients with ice in a shaker. Filter into a glass.
Holidays in a glass, this timeless drink was always going to make the list. This Death and Co. recipe is fabulous, blending dark and light rums.
- 2 oz Caña Brava white rum
- 0.5 oz of Cruzan Black Strap rum
- 1.5 cl of fresh pineapple juice
- 1.5 cl of coconut cream
- 1 pineapple wedge and brandy cherry for garnish
Method: Combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker and whisk, shaking with a few pieces of crushed ice until incorporated. Pour into an Old-Fashioned Double Glass and fill the glass with crushed ice. Garnish with a pineapple wedge and a cherry.
You would be hard pressed to find a prettier drink than the Jungle Bird. This recipe shows how wonderfully dark rum can compensate for the sweet and sour components of Campari.
- 1.5 oz Jamaican rum
- .75 ounces of Campari
- 1 oz of pineapple juice, preferably fresh
- 0.5 oz lime juice
- 0.5 oz Demerara syrup (1: 1 water sugar)
- pineapple wedge and frond, for garnish
Method: add the ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice; shake vigorously for 7 seconds. Strain into a double highball glass over ice and garnish.
This fun recipe from Food Network emphasizes the importance of a good dark rum blend, as well as the singular beauty that only falernum and fresh tropical juice can deliver.
Method: Pour all the ingredients into a pitcher with a tight-fitting lid. Shake vigorously until a frothy head appears. Strain into cocktail glasses and let the fun begin.
A classic in the dark rum category, the Hurricane combines the robustness of the spirit with the freshness of fresh citrus and passion fruit. If you really want a nice melt in the glass (much like another classic, Tequila Sunrise), pour in some cherry liqueur or dark rum at the end and let it sit at the base.
- 2 ounces of rum
- 1 oz of citrus juice (lemon or lime)
- 1 oz of passion fruit syrup
Method: Add all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice; shake until cool, then strain through crushed ice into a Hurricane glass. Garnish with an orange slice and a Luxardo Maraschino brandy cherry.
This Death and Co. take on the classic tiki drink uses the nuanced flavor of a quality aged Jamaican rum.
- 1 oz Appleton Estate Reserve Blend Rum
- 1 oz La Favorite Coeur de Canne White Agricultural Rum
- .25 ounces of Grand Marnier
- 1 ounce of lime juice
- 0.5 oz of barley
- 0.25 oz of simple syrup
- 1 dash of Angostura bitter
- Bunch of mint for garnish
Method: Combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker and whisk, shaking with a few pieces of crushed ice, until incorporated. Pour into an Old-Fashioned Double Glass, then fill the glass with crushed ice. Garnish with mint.